As humans, we seem to have a fascination for new beginnings. Wishing for a chance to start over or ‘looking over the fence to the greener grass on the other side’.
So what is the fascination? Is it that we recognise that we are innately flawed and we’re striving for perfection, or are we never satisfied with who we are and what we have? I believe it is both, and that’s not a bad thing, but somewhere along the way we’ve lost sight of what should be the focus of this battle – our character and our quest to become more Christlike. Instead, particularly in the Western world, it has become so much about materialism and consumerism.
We compare ourselves to others, striving to impress them through outward appearances. Consider these trends and industries that prey on this misplaced focus: reality TV, home improvements, design, automotive, fashion and beauty. Think about it; when did a home cease being a place where you find shelter and raise a family, and become a showpiece that speaks of your status? The same can be said about the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and now even the food we eat! Please don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with appreciating quality and enjoying nice things, but for our society this has become a misplaced focus that is linked to our desire for new beginnings and it distracts from where our focus should be – on Jesus!
Another temptation is to focus solely on the end result, on the feeling of freedom and simplicity that a new start so often brings. What are easily overlooked are the hard and often painful steps that come before, and prepare us for, the new beginning.
What happens when the yearning for a new beginning reaches beyond style, fashion and food, and instead encompasses your entire life? Working with marginalised people in inner city Sydney at HopeStreet, we meet many people in this situation. For some, their lives are far from what they had hoped for and they have no idea how to turn it around. Here begins the long, hard and often painful journey towards their new beginnings. As we journey with each person, it is our hope that they will have a personal encounter with Jesus, the author and perfector of peace and the master of new beginnings.
It’s easy to get distracted by the lifestyle of our society and miss the joy of knowing that we have already been given a new beginning, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus; a beginning more fulfilling and life-changing than any cosmetic make-over or product could ever promise or provide.
So lean into Jesus and start living your new beginning. The vision we have been given as Christians is that the future hope we are promised can be drawn back into our present to transform us. Our new beginning starts here and is found wholly and solely in Jesus.